Arkansas has between 50 – 60 thunderstorm days a year, and that means your pets are probably stressed. Most dogs and cats hate loud noises, and thunderstorms are full of them.
How do you keep your pets calm during storms? Do you comfort them, or let them hide? Here are some tips from your veterinarian. We’ve given a lot of advice in this area, and we’re happy to help your dogs and cats feel safer in bad weather.
Know the Signs of Anxiety
Pets are more sensitive to changes in barometric pressure than we are, so they can often sense a storm before it arrives. If you notice your dog or cat acting unusually, you may want to check the weather forecast.
A normally friendly dog may hide, bark, or shiver. You might notice that your pets want to cuddle or seek comfort. Watch for dilated pupils, excessive drooling, pacing, or even unusual potty behaviors.
Once the storm passes, if you still notice odd behavior, it may not be related to the weather. Bring them to your veterinarian for a checkup.
Keep Your Family Calm
Pets of all kinds pick up quickly on your emotional state. If you or your family members are nervous or panicked because of weather, it can impact your pets.
Some people have PTSD or other emotional conditions that make staying calm during a storm very difficult. That’s nothing to feel guilty about. However, if you don’t have those concerns, do your best not to panic about the weather.
If you are facing severe weather, having a plan for keeping everyone safe. You can arrange for everyone – including pets – to come to a safe area such as the basement or an interior bathroom. Taking these steps calmly will help keep your pets safe and avoid a trip to the veterinarian.
Build Your Pet a Safe Space
Cats normally have their own preferred hiding places, and you can work with that. A dog might appreciate you creating a special spot for them. In both cases, stock the area with your pet’s favorite blankets, toys, and even treats.
When your pet has a place that’s dark, warm, easy to get to, and away from windows or other hazards, they can take shelter during a storm and feel safe. If your pet enjoys your company when scared, sit with them and reassure them during the storm.
When the storm has passed, everything should return to normal! If your pet is still showing signs of significant fear or your property went through a major disaster like a tornado, it might be helpful to bring them to the veterinarian to make sure everything is OK.
Consider Seeing Your Veterinarian
In cases of severe pet anxiety, you may need to make an appointment with your veterinarian. There are medications we can prescribe for anxiety, or we may be able to make other suggestions about how to keep your pet settled during noisy storms.
If you are concerned about your pet’s behavior during or after a storm, we’d be happy to help. Simply contact us to schedule an appointment today!